Li­brary cre­ates trib­ute to Conn. vic­tims

North Penn Life - - Front Page - By Jen­nifer Law­son jlaw­son@jour­nalregis­ter.com

As New­town, Conn., and the na­tion mourn those killed in last Fri­day’s school shoot­ing, North Wales Area li­brary has come up with a mean­ing­ful way to memo­ri­al­ize the vic­tims.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic may do­nate $15, which will al­low the li­brary to pur­chase a new first-grade-level book. On the blank page at the front of the book or on the in­side cover, the li­brary will af­fix a spe­cial book­plate with the im­age of an an­gel, the name of one of the vic­tims and, if re­quested, the name of the in­di­vid­ual or fam­ily who do­nated the book in their honor.

“It’s a just small thing we can do,” li­brary Di­rec­tor Jayne Black­ledge said. “It’s a really nice way to memo­ri­al­ize the vic­tims that will be last­ing, and it could be a nice time for par­ents to talk to their chil­dren about safety.”

The funds will not be sent to the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies; the com­mu­nity has been flooded with do­na­tions, Black­ledge said. The idea is for the books to re­main in the li­brary so that the lo­cal com­mu­nity can re­mem­ber the vic­tims in a quiet, pow­er­ful way.

Li­brar­ian Regina Radi­gan put to­gether a wish list of award-win­ning, first-gradelevel books, such as “King Arthur’s Very Great Grand- son” by Ken­neth Kraegel. Donors may pick a book from the list, or they can let the li­brary choose.

Li­brary of­fi­cials wanted to fo­cus on pop­u­lar books be­cause they’d be signed out most of­ten, and the me- mo­ri­als would reach more peo­ple.

“The chil­dren were all stu­dents, and here at the li­brary, we’re all about learn­ing,” Black­ledge said. “Be­ing in the ed­u­ca­tion busi­ness, it tugged at our heart­strings, and we want peo­ple to feel like they can do a lit­tle some­thing so th­ese chil­dren will not be for­got­ten.”

One donor heard that one of the vic­tims liked horses, so a book with a horse theme was picked to honor that child, she said.

Their goal is for the li­brary to pur­chase 2S books, or one book per vic­tim — adult vic­tims in­cluded — and from the re­sponse they’ve had so far, that goal is within reach. The staff devel­oped the idea Mon­day af­ter­noon and an­nounced it on so­cial me­dia. By Tues­day morn­ing, five peo­ple had made do­na­tions and oth­ers have ex­pressed in­ter­est.

Stand­ing at the check­out counter at the li­brary, Cherie No­ble of North Wales said she planned on mak­ing a do­na­tion.

“My grand­son is in first grade, that’s it,” she said as she turned away, her voice filled with emo­tion.

Notic­ing one of the signs an­nounc­ing the me­mo­rial books, Margie Ma­her asked about it at the counter, then said she planned on telling her daugh­ter about it.

“I think it’s a beau­ti­ful thing to do,” she said, hold­ing the hand of her 1-yearold grand­daugh­ter, Lia. “Peo­ple are look­ing for a way to help and this is a great idea.”

The li­brary will be ac­cept­ing do­na­tions for the books un­til Jan. 1T. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 215-S99-5410.

Pho­tos by GE­OFF PAT­TON

North Wales Area Li­brary Di­rec­tor Jayne Black­ledge reads to young­sters dur­ing a story hour at the li­brary Tues­day.

Li­brar­ian Regina Radi­gan, left, an­swers Margie Ma­her’s ques­tion about the book do­na­tion pro­gram at the li­brary.

A sign is on dis­play at the North Wales Area Li­brary to alert vis­i­tors of the book do­na­tion drive.

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